My dearest daughter sent me this email recently:

She has 10 flatmates in her student housing at the University of Glasgow… that would double my current readership! So here goes….

Leah has been in college overseas for about 8 months now. During that time she has:

  • Lost her passport
  • Lost her Ohio ID
  • Lost her student ID
  • Lost the credit card tied to our account
  • Had her phone stolen

For Leah, those incidents have been aggravating. As a parent who is nearly 2,000 miles away (sorry, flatmates, I meant nearly 3,000 kilometers away), it’s super-frustrating.

But that’s all “stuff.” It can be replaced. It has been. What’s much more important is what she’s found during her “fresher” year of “uni.” (Man, these flatmates better appreciate how I’m adapting my vocabulary!)

She’s found friends. Ones who helped her with booking a hostel and a new flight when she had to stay a couple extra days in Krakow, Poland after she lost her passport there back in October.

Friends who made an American-style Thanksgiving feast when she was missing home in November.

Friends who will stay up until the wee hours to watch the Cincinnati team play in the Super Bowl… even though they think rugby is better.

Friends who invited her to their homes…. in London:

And in Derry:

She’s learned how to navigate unfamiliar cities in foreign countries.

St. Paddy’s Day… in Dublin!

She’s met people from all over the globe, and learned about different cultures.

She’s found that’s she’s capable of much more than she thought she was just 8 short months ago.

“Stuff” can be replaced. Experiences can’t.